Thursday, June 13News That Matters

Cody Gakpo names ex-Chelsea defender as toughest opponent he has faced

Cody Gakpo claims Thiago Silva has been the toughest opponent he has faced thus far in his career, saying the former Chelsea player was ‘everywhere’ when he came up against him.

The Brazilian star arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2020 at 35 years old and the jury was out over whether he could adapt in the Premier League at that age.

But, he went on to shine for four years with the Blues, playing 155 games for the club and winning the Champions League in the process.

Silva has now departed, continuing his playing career back in Brazil with former team Fluminense, but he left an impression on English football and on the Liverpool star.

‘He (Thiago Silva) was one of my first games here at Liverpool,’ Gakpo told ESPN when asked about his toughest foe.

‘He was just really smart. He is a little bit older now, but, yeah, a very class defender, really smart, thinking a few steps ahead.

‘I don’t even know if I got in a physical duel with him, but he was just there, everywhere.’

The Brazil international started his youth career at Fluminense & returned to play for the first team from 2006-09 and has now gone back again after a superb stint in Europe.

Silva leaves his sons on the books at Chelsea and claims he intends to return to the west London side at some point.

‘Chelsea means a lot to me. I came here with the intention of only staying for a year and it ended up being four years. Not just for me but for my family, too,’ he said.

‘My sons play for Chelsea so it is a source of great pride to be a part of the Chelsea family – literally because my sons are here. I hope they continue their careers here at this victorious club that many players wish to be part of.

‘[It’s been a] dream, definitely a dream. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I could achieve such great things and win one of the best professional titles, the Champions League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Goodbyes are for those that leave and don’t come back. I intend on coming back one day.’

The Brazilian legend was unveiled in front of a huge crowd in Rio De Janeiro, saying: ‘Thank you for taking such a special time out of your lives to be with me today. You don’t know how special it is for me to come home. I was sure this would happen.

‘You know my family will stay in London. And this is a demonstration of affection for the institution, for you fans and for football itself.

‘I would like to thank God for allowing me to wear this important shirt again. I feel very proud to put her on my chest for the second time.’

   

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